Every day, we lose roughly 100 acres of farmland to rural development throughout the state of Pennsylvania. The 2015 census revealed that Pennsylvania lost over 6,000 farms over the five previous years. Small farms are struggling to break even, let alone make a profit. At the same time, 35% of food in the United States is going to waste. On top of that, food has to travel on average 1,500 miles from the farm before reaching the dinner table.
When we shop at local grocery stores, chances are they are not selling locally grown food. Much of the food sold in grocery stores comes from mass-produced farms. However, studies show that small farms are more efficient because they are better for the soil, prevent erosion, and have a smaller carbon footprint. Farmers' markets are a great way to buy locally grown products, but only a small portion of people shop at farmers' markets compared to those shopping at grocery stores.
Table Rock Markets is our solution to keeping farms in business by increasing their sales and profitability while at the same time helping families eat healthy, locally grown food. Farmers' markets have been around for over five thousand years, and by incorporating them with modern technology, we will be able to improve the agriculture industry. Table Rock Markets is an e-commerce platform designed specifically for farmers. Farmers do not have much time to spend on the computer, especially during harvest season. For this reason, we are making our platform easy to use by automating as many processes as possible.
Table Rock Markets allows farmers to start selling online in four simple steps; 1. Create an account, 2. Activate the credit card processor, 3. List the farmers' markets they attend, and 4. Start adding products. Once the four steps are complete, customers can start buying from the farmer online. Table Rock Markets helps customers find local farmers and what farmers markets they attend. Once they find a farmer they want to buy from, they can add their products into the virtual shopping cart. Before checking out, the customer will select which farmers' market they want to pick up at. After placing the order, the farm will receive a notification. Table Rock Markets allows farmers to set custom ordering windows for each market, which gives the farmer time to prepare the orders. Utilizing our pre-ordering system offers farmers a better idea of how much produce they need to take to market. It is also convenient for customers as they know what products will be available each week and help save them time while shopping. Our strategy for building Table Rock Markets is to eliminate any friction in the farmers' selling process and customers' buying process. The coronavirus pandemic has been our wake-up call to the importance of shopping locally and pushing towards a more innovative future.
Jake grew up on his family's farm, where he gained a passion for agriculture. In 2019, he received the FFA American Degree, the highest degree awarded by the National FFA Organization. Jake is a Business Management and Marketing major at Penn State Mont Alto.
Hunter Dubbs graduated from Pennsylvania College of Technology in 2020 with a degree in Software Development & Information Management. Hunter and Jake both attended Biglerville High School. Together they won multiple competitions in the Technology Student Association.
Aidan is studying Computer Science at Penn State University. He is focused on additional software features and incorporating artificial intelligence into Table Rock Markets. Aidan is forward-thinking and always looking to improve the platform.
Megan was previously a marketing manager for Ben & Jerry's in Boston, Massachusetts. She is using her creative talents to promote our social media pages. Megan has extensive connections throughout the city of Boston, many of which are non-profit organizations.
Donald Opp is studying Animal Science at Penn State University Park. Donald will be communicating with farmers throughout Pennsylvania and planning out which ones should be onboarded to Table Rock Markets first. He is on the Agriculture Council for the Pittsburgh region.
Sabrina Yushinski is a Food Science Major at Penn State University Park. Sabrina is in charge of finding the best ways to maintain high food quality and promoting sustainable farming practices.
Jeffrey is studying Web & Interactive Media at Pennsylvania College of Technology. He is in charge of constructing the website to be more accessible, quicker, and appealing. He also works hard on UI to give a better experience throughout the website.